A planned upgrade to the country's only cable car service looks set to go ahead after objectors to the proposal withdrew their concerns at an oral hearing.
The Dursey Island cable car in West Cork is at the centre of a multi-million euro proposal that would see two independently operated cable cars in operation, as well as a visitor centre, café and improved car parking on the mainland side.
It would be a major upgrade on the current system which travels over Dursey Sound, and which has operated virtually unchanged for half a century. While the current cable car can bring six passengers to the island, both new cars would accommodate eight people.
However, the plan from Cork County Council also involved road widening on the approach to the cable car service, in light of expected increased traffic volumes. This element fell under a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) which in turn prompted objections from Daniel O'Sullivan, the main objector, and his sister, Anne.
Mr O'Sullivan, of Killough West, Cahermore, Beara, had objected on grounds including that the road windening to facilitate a passing bay would require the demolition of a derelict cottage, which he said had been in his family for three generations.
The land in question is still registered in the names of his deceased parents, with the process of transfer ongoing, according to a Cork County Council brief of evidence available at the oral hearing, which was held in Glengarriff.
Anne O'Sullivan lives adjacent to her brother and she said she had not received a CPO notice, while her objections also included a fear that the proposed works would impact on the value of her property, as well as fears over safety.
At the commencement of the oral hearing the O'Sullivan siblings, along with their solicitor, Ray Hennessy, and representatives of Cork County Council and its Senior Council Rory Mulcahy, agreed to discuss the issue privately.
On returning some time later Mr Hennessy said a compromise had been reached but it was "contingent on something happening in the future". He indicated his clients could withdraw in that event but Senior Inspector with An Bord Pleanala, Patricia Calleary, chairing the oral hearing, said any withdrawal would have to be unconditional and she could not adjourn the case.
Both parties resumed private discussions and Mr Hennessy returned to say agreement had been reached to withdraw the objections, once his clients costs were met. Following another brief private discussion the hearing resumed and both the letters of withdrawal by Mr O'Sullivan and Ms O'Sullivan were read into the record and Ms Calleary said the oral hearing was closed.
Afterwards Mr O'Sullivan said the house in question is "my family heritage".
"I am hoping we can get a replacement house in the vicinity," he said.
"We are all in favour of the Dursey cable car, " he said. "That will create employment."
The local authority's representatives at the hearing included Senior Engineer Liam Lynch, but they said they would not be commenting.
Later a spokesman for the Council said: "Cork County Council do not have any statement to give in relation to today’s oral hearing."